The Meteorite That Made Dinosaurs Extinct 66 Million Years Ago May Have Been Found
The remains of a meteorite believed to be the culprit behind the mass extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago have been found.
The rock fragments were found on the island of Gorgonilla, which is located in the Colombian Pacific.
According to a report from Pulzo translated by Latin Correspondent, remains of spherulites, which are small, rounded bodies, were discovered in the rock fragment. The rock pieces are believed to be part of a bigger continental area, which is now Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.
Upon analysis of the rock fragments, scientists identified the ages of the small pieces of crystal.
"It's evidence from the when the meteorite hit, millimeter-sized particles that are the result of when the rock struck," geologist Hermann Bermúdez commented, who is currently part of the investigation, as reported by Latin Correspondent.
The spherulites measure 2 cm (about 0.8 inches) in diameter and resemble the appearance of marbles due to its glass composition, Colombia Reports wrote.
The recent discovery is the first meteorite fragment found in South America, though some were also found in Central and North America.
Findings in Colombia are Unique
Bermúdez describes the discovery as "unique" because experts worldwide who worked alongside him "know all the spots in the world where there is evidence of the impact," adding that their team "had never seen preservation like this," Colombia Reports noted.
Scientists are still clueless about why the meteorite fragments are in good condition, but they suspect that it is because of the island's location, which was "very deep under the ocean" and only rose from the waters millions of years later, the news outlet further reported.
Bermúdez admitted that there is a lack of funds, but he hopes to show that when the meteorite hit there was a mega-earthquake with a 13 Richter scale in the Western Hemisphere.
The Deaths of Dinosaurs
When the meteorite smashed onto the Earth's surface, it blasted out a crater that measured 200 km (125 mi.) in diameter. The blast is located in Chicxulub, located on the Yucatán Peninsula.
The huge impact gave way to an environmental disaster that included enormous tsunamis, which caused the extinction of dinosaurs as well as other species.
Scientists believed that the meteorite's impact produced dense clouds of dust to block the sun's rays, leading to a dark and chilly Earth that was fatal to both animals and plants, PBS.org wrote. After the dust settled, greenhouse gases generated by the impact caused temperatures to rise beyond pre-impact levels.
A number of years after, these cold and scorching climatic extremes caused the extinction of up to 70 percent of all living plants and animals, including the dinosaurs.
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